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The Changing Face of School Psychology: Trends in Data and Projections for the Future


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Trends in data from the past to the present are described for demographic variables (gender, race and ethnicity, preparation levels, credentialing, age and experience) and ratio of students to school psychologists. School psychology in the United States will continue to be characterized as primarily Caucasian, specialist-level and female through 2020. Projections of personnel needs based on estimates of new school psychologists entering the field through graduation from university programs, as well as those exiting the field through estimates of retirement and attrition, indicate that there will be a severe shortage of school psychologists through 2010, with the shortage then continuing but declining through 2020. Implications are discussed and possible strategies and directions are offered for the field. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Content may be subject to copyright.
School Psychology Review,
2004, Volume 33, No. 1, pp. 49-66
Address correspondence to Michael J. Curtis, University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, EDU
162, Tampa, FL 33620; E-mail:
Copyright 2004 by the National Association of School Psychologists, ISSN 0279-6015
The Changing Face of School Psychology: Trends
in Data and Projections for the Future
Michael J. Curtis
University of South Florida
J. Elizabeth Chesno Grier
University of South Carolina
Sawyer A. Hunley
University of Dayton
Abstract. Trends in data from the past to the present are described for demographic
variables (gender, race and ethnicity, preparation levels, credentialing, age and
experience) and ratio of students to school psychologists. School psychology in
the United States will continue to be characterized as primarily Caucasian, spe-
cialist-level and female through 2020. Projections of personnel needs based on
estimates of new school psychologists entering the field through graduation from
university programs, as well as those exiting the field through estimates of retire-
ment and attrition, indicate that there will be a severe shortage of school psycholo-
gists through 2010, with the shortage then continuing but declining through 2020.
Implications are discussed and possible strategies and directions are offered for
the field.
not even considered among the multiple sce-
narios. Nevertheless, “it is folly to attempt to
prepare ourselves [and school psychology] for
ensuing years without at least attempting to
forecast, based upon our best judgments, what
may be anticipated” (Cardon, 1982, p. 151).
The Future of School Psychology 2002
Invitational Conference (Curtis, 2002) fol-
lowed the last such gathering, the Olympia
Conference, by more than 20 years. As the field
once again engages in an attempt to consider
its future(s), we recommend that readers re-
visit or read for the first time The Olympia
Proceedings (Brown, Cardon, Coulter, &
Meyers, 1982). The discussions and accom-
plishments of that conference would probably
prove enlightening from a number of perspec-
Making predictions about school psy-
chology and professional practices in the fu-
ture is challenging at best. Futurists would sug-
gest that we examine historical patterns as well
as current and potential forces, both internal
and external, that might have an impact on the
field to develop possible scenarios for the fu-
ture. Rather than trying to predict the future,
the goal is to describe different futures that
might emerge. However, history would seem
to suggest that we would be foolish in trying
to gaze too far down the road. Any number of
unanticipated developments, such as sweep-
ing legislation, major judicial decisions, sig-
nificant changes in society, or key advances in
any number of areas like technology, could
dramatically alter our path and lead to a future
School Psychology Review, 2004, Volume 33, No. 1
tives, especially with regard to the accuracy of
scenarios developed to predict possible futures.
Approximately 330 conference participants
generated world, nation, society, education, and
school psychology scenarios for the 1980s,
1990s and 2000s. In synthesizing the work of
discussion groups, Cardon (1982) identified the
following predicted characteristics of the fu-
ture as being important in planning for school
1. High technology may impact all aspects
of society, especially the schools.
2. Education, as we know it now, may un-
dergo major changes. Private and home-
based schools may well become the norm
rather than the exception.
3. Increasing percentages of minorities and
handicapped children may characterize pub-
lic education over the next several decades.
4. Regular and special education may merge,
becoming very sophisticated.
5. Lifelong education may become univer-
6. The roles of all educators may change dra-
matically, and many new professionals may
come onto the scene. (p. 160)
One of the themes upon which the Olym-
pia Conference was based remains valuable in
current efforts to look to the future. Specifi-
cally, the importance of school psychology as
a united field, planning for and actively pursu-
ing desirable scenarios for the future rather than
merely waiting for its hand to be dealt, seems
as appropriate today as it did then. The con-
cept of a “united field” seems to have eluded
school psychology for much of the last 20 years
following Olympia. It remains to be seen
whether various professional organizations can
and will move beyond their own self interests
to work collaboratively for the good of the field
over the next 20 years.
In this article, we describe trends in data
for school psychology in the United States
from the late 1960s to the present relating
to a number of different variables, includ-
ing demographic characteristics (i.e., gen-
der, race and ethnicity, preparation levels,
credentialing, age, and experience) and the
ratio of students to school psychologists. Be-
cause a particular focus of the 2002 Invitational
Conference was on the current and anticipated
shortage of school psychologists, we offer pro-
jections for personnel needs based on estimates
of new school psychologists entering the field,
and those leaving the field through retirement
or attrition. We also discuss potential implica-
tions of the shortage for the field and for the
professional practice of school psychology.
Finally, we offer our thoughts about possible
strategies and directions for the field in light
of these projections. Because the development
of projections for the future is based in large
part on an examination of past and present data,
it is important to clarify limitations in those
data. The data we report were generated in large
part through survey research conducted over a
span of more than 30 years. Problems that char-
acterize much survey research may have in-
fluenced the findings reported in some of the
studies referenced here. The extent to which
the findings accurately represent the entire
field of school psychology is, of course, an
issue. In some studies, the return rates were
between 40% and 45%; in others, return
rates have been reported as high as 70% to
80%. Even with such higher response rates,
there remains the possibility that the non-re-
spondents somehow differ from respondents
in a way that would impact the findings had
they chosen to participate.
Methods for sampling school psycholo-
gists have also proven challenging to research-
ers. There is no single comprehensive listing
of all school psychologists across the United
States. Consequently, many researchers have
chosen to use the membership list of one or
more professional organizations. The National
Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
seems to have the most comprehensive regis-
ter, with more than 20,000 members, and it has
been used most often in the research reported
here. Fagan (1994) estimates that NASP mem-
bership includes approximately 70% of all
school psychologists across the United States,
and, therefore, probably represents the best
available basis for sampling the field. If
Fagan’s estimate is accurate, 30% of all school
psychologists, a significant portion of the field,
are not represented in the NASP database.
Smith, Clifford, Hesley, and Leifgren (1992)
conducted a study in which they used multiple
listings (i.e., registers of currently employed
The Changing Face of School Psychology
school psychologists from state departments
of education and membership lists from state
school psychology organizations, or NASP if
a list was not available from a state associa-
tion) to obtain a more complete sample of
school psychologists. In their report, the au-
thors argued that because membership lists of
professional organizations accounted for less
than 25% of the sample used in the study, “the
sample appears to be representative of school
psychologists employed by public schools” (p.
2). Usable responses in their study, however,
represented a return rate of only 42%. Despite
these limitations, the data presented below pro-
vide a reasonable description of the trends that
have characterized the past and present status
of school psychology and serve as a helpful
basis from which to consider the future.
Demographic Characteristics
The most dramatic change in the field
of school psychology has been in the area of
gender (see Figure 1) and is now often referred
to as the “feminization” of school psychology.
Farling and Hoedt (1971) reported that during
the 1969–1970 school year, the field was con-
stituted of 59% males and 41% females. Males
continued to represent a majority (54%) of the
field approximately 10 years later (Smith,
1984). Graden and Curtis (1991) found that by
the 1989–1990 school year, 65% were female,
with women’s representation increasing to 70%
of all school psychologists in 1999–2000
(Curtis, Grier, Abshier, Sutton, & Hunley,
2002). In a span of approximately 30 years,
the representation of women in school psychol-
ogy increased by almost 30%, growing at a rate
of about 10% per decade (Reschly, 2000). The
increase in female representation in school
psychology, however, parallels the increasing
trend found collectively for all areas of psy-
chology. The percent of doctorates in psychol-
ogy awarded to women increased from 25%
in 1971 to 61% in 1991 (Pion et al., 1996).
Furthermore, Thomas (1998) reported that
more than four out of five (80.5%) students
enrolled in school psychology programs in
1996–1997 were women. Consequently, the
relative scarcity of males in school psychol-
ogy training programs across the country sug-
Figure 1. Gender.
Farling & Hoedt, 1971;
Smith, 1984;
Graden & Curtis;
Curtis, Grier, Abshier, Sutton, & Hunley,
School Psychology Review, 2004, Volume 33, No. 1
gests that the trend toward feminization will
continue and the field will be largely female
for the foreseeable future.
Race and Ethnicity
The field of school psychology has been
largely Caucasian throughout its history
(Fagan, 1988). There has been very little
change over the last 20 years (see Table 1) in
spite of concerted efforts by professional or-
ganizations at both the state and national lev-
els to recruit more school psychologists with
differing cultural backgrounds into the field.
In addition, only one out of 10 school psycholo-
gists report fluently speaking a language
other than English (Curtis, Hunley, Walker,
& Baker, 1999). Although individuals from
diverse ethnic backgrounds and those fluent
in languages other than English continue to be
seriously underrepresented in the field, many
school psychologists work in settings in which
they serve an increasingly diverse student
Despite reports of a markedly higher
percentage of students who are members of
minority groups enrolled in school psychology
training programs over the last 20 years, com-
parable percentages are not represented in the
data for the field as a whole. For example, only
6.1% of school psychologists in the field were
reported to be members of minority groups
during the 1989–1990 school year (Graden &
Curtis, 1991); however, McMaster, Reschly,
and Peters (1989) reported that 12.8% of school
psychology graduate students were minorities.
Approximately 10 years later, 7.2% of school
psychologists in the field were reported to be
members of minority groups (Curtis et al.,
2002); however, 17.0% of graduate students
in school psychology were reported to be mi-
norities (Thomas, 1998). The small increase
in overall minority representation from 1989–
1990 to 1999–2000 (1.1%) is not surprising,
despite the increasing percentage of minority
graduate students. In terms of the number of
new school psychologists graduating each year,
the difference between the percentage of mi-
norities in the field overall and the percentage
of minority students enrolled in graduate pro-
grams in the most recent studies cited above is
about 175 students. The statistical impact of
that number of additional minority school psy-
chologists graduating each year in a field of
approximately 33,000 school psychologists
(see Supply Projections below) is very limited.
Minorities accounted for 23.1% of the total
membership of the U. S. work force in 2002,
for 16.2% of all teachers, and for 13.3% of all
psychologists (U.S. Department of Labor,
2003). Without question, the field of school
psychology is lagging behind in minority mem-
bership. Based on historical data alone, it
would appear likely that the representation of
persons with diverse cultural backgrounds in
school psychology will remain very limited for
some years to come; however, further investi-
Table 1
Race/Ethnicity of School Psychologists Across Three Sampling Periods
African American 1.5% 1.9% 1.9%
Caucasian 96% 93.9% 92.8%
Native American/Alaskan Native <1% 1.1% 0.6%
Asian/Pacific Islander <1% 0.8% 0.6%
Hispanic 1.5% 1.5% 3.1%
Other <1% 0.9% 0.9%
Smith, 1984;
Graden & Curtis, 1991;
Curtis et al., 2002.
The Changing Face of School Psychology
gation into the discrepancy between the repre-
sentation of individuals from diverse cultural
backgrounds in graduate training programs
versus those in the field (as reflected in the find-
ings of survey research and in the membership
databases for professional organizations such
as NASP, the Division of School Psychology
of the American Psychological Association,
and state school psychology associations) de-
serves additional research attention.The first
question to be addressed pertains to the accu-
racy of data reported to represent the percent-
age of school psychology program graduates
each year who are members of minority groups.
Another question relates to whether school
psychologists from diverse cultural back-
grounds graduate from school psychology
training programs, but leave the field at a rate
different from that of non-minority school
psychologists. Given the longstanding
underrepresentation of school psychologists
who are members of minority groups, these and
other questions relating to race and ethnicity
must be addressed.
Graduate Level Preparation
The professional preparation of school
psychologists is a topic of importance in ex-
amining the historical trajectory of the field
and in discussions about status, employment
settings, and professional practices in the fu-
ture. NASP standards establish the specialist
level (60 graduate semester hours or 90 gradu-
ate quarter hours) for entry to professional prac-
tice (NASP, 2000b), whereas APA policy es-
tablishes the doctoral degree for entry (APA,
1987). Because many training programs pro-
vide specialist-level training, but do not offer
a specialist degree (N = 108, 55.7%; Thomas,
1998), preparation data are reported both by
degree (see Table 2) and by specialist level (see
Table 3) as defined by graduate hours of study.
It is apparent that the preparation of
school psychologists has changed dramatically
over the last 30 years, which is a relatively short
time in the life of a field. The data compared
here for 1969–1970 with those for 1999–2000
were reported by Farling and Hoedt (1971) and
by Curtis et al. (2002), respectively. Whereas
a small percentage of school psychologists
were reported to hold only a bachelors degree
in 1969–1970, these individuals had almost
disappeared from the field by 1999–2000. In
addition, the percentage of school psycholo-
gists who held a specialist degree or higher
increased tenfold (i.e., from 5.2% to 58.5%)
during this same period of time. And, school
psychologists prepared at the specialist level
or higher, whether or not they actually held a
specialist or doctoral degree, increased by al-
most 17%. Furthermore, only 55 (2.9%) of
1,897 graduates of school psychology pro-
grams in 1996–1997 were reported to have
been prepared below the specialist level (Tho-
mas, 1998).
A closer look at the preparation data re-
veals that the most dramatic shift away from
the masters level toward the specialist and
doctoral levels occurred between 1969–1970
and 1989–1990. The movement of the field to
the specialist level or higher during that time
frame largely resulted from two developments.
Table 2
Level of Preparation by Degree
Degree 1969–1970
Masters 93.0% 62% 40.8% 41.0%
Specialist 1.8% 22% 29.1% 28.2%
Doctorate 3.4% 16% 28.1% 30.3%
Note. Columns do not total 100% because of rounding and because data pertaining to the bachelors degree were re-
ported to be 1%–2% in earlier studies and are not included here.
Farling & Hoedt, 1971;
Smith, 1984;
Graden & Curtis, 1991;
Curtis, Greier, Ashier, Sutton, & Hunley, 2002.
School Psychology Review, 2004, Volume 33, No. 1
First, the greatest increase in the num-
ber of school psychologists occurred during the
1980s (Reschly, 2000), but slowed during the
1990s. Second, the preparation of the increas-
ing numbers of school psychologists entering
the field in the 1980s and beyond has been
influenced by the adoption of standards for
both credentialing and training by NASP be-
ginning in the 1970s, advocating for the spe-
cialist level for entry to professional practice.
The data indicate that level of preparation has
been relatively stable since 1989–1990, with
the proportion of school psychologists trained
at the specialist level or higher remaining about
87%. That stability is not unexpected. Because
there are no state or national policies that re-
quire school psychologists already in the field
to have a minimum of specialist-level train-
ing, most masters-level school psychologists
will remain part of the field until they choose
to exit. However, masters-level training pro-
grams have almost disappeared. Thomas
(1998) reported that masters level programs
declined from 16% in 1986–1987 to only 4%
by 1996–1997. He also found that specialist-
level programs had increased to 66.1% and
doctoral programs to 29.5% by 1996–1997.
Consequently, it would appear that the percent-
age of school psychologists prepared at the
specialist level or higher will continue to in-
crease gradually in the years ahead, with those
prepared at the masters level eventually con-
stituting a very small percent of the field.
The field also has witnessed a notable
change in the percentage of school psycholo-
gists who hold a doctoral degree, increasing
from less than one out of 20 in 1969–1970 to
almost one out of three in 1999–2000. It is
likely that this change has resulted from the
influence of the APA and its advocacy for doc-
toral-level licensure through activities such as
the promotion of its Model Licensure Act at
the state level (APA, 1987). The percent of
school psychologists with the doctoral degree
showed the greatest amount of growth between
1969–1970 and 1989–1990, but has been rela-
tively stable since then. The doctoral degree is
almost uniformly required for a generic psy-
chology license today. As noted by Reschly
(2000), some earlier predictions of a rapid
movement by the field to the doctoral level
have proven to be inaccurate, although there
appears to be continuing gradual movement in
that direction. Nevertheless, a major change
in the character of the field relative to the doc-
toral degree is not likely to occur in the fore-
seeable future because of the relatively lim-
ited number of programs offering the doctor-
ate (N = 87) in comparison to more than twice
as many specialist-level programs (N = 194;
Thomas, 1998). Furthermore, even greater than
the difference in programs by level is the dif-
ference in graduates. According to Thomas
(1998), only 320 (16.9%) of the 1,897 gradu-
ates from school psychology programs in
1996–1997 received a doctoral degree. As
noted below, projections of retirements over
the next 20 years indicate that school psycholo-
gists with doctoral degrees will be exiting the
field at a much higher rate than nondoctoral
school psychologists.
Professional Practice Credentials and
Employment Setting
Interpretation of credentialing data can
no longer be approached as simply as it once
was. Historically, certification by state depart-
Table 3
Level of Preparation: Specialist Level or Higher
Level of Preparation 1969–1970
Below Specialist Level 30.3% 17% 12.8% 13.5%
Specialist Level or Above 69.7% 83% 87.2% 86.5%
Note. Specialist Level is defined as 60 graduate semester hours/90 graduate quarter hours.
Farling & Hoedt, 1971;
Smith, 1984;
Graden & Curtis, 1991;
Curtis, Greier, Ashier, Sutton, & Hunley, 2002.
The Changing Face of School Psychology
ments of education was associated with the
practice of school psychology in public
schools. Licensure allowed for practice in set-
tings outside the schools (e.g., private practice,
mental health clinics, and hospitals). Those in-
terpretations are no longer necessarily accurate.
For example, in some states such as Texas, li-
censure in school psychology is now required
for practice as a school psychologist in public
schools. On the other hand, certification in Illi-
nois allows for the practice of school psychol-
ogy outside the schools. In a recent study, Curtis
et al. (2002) found that 23.2% of the school
psychologists participating reported that certifi-
cation allowed for practice outside the school
setting, and 73.9% reported that licensure al-
lowed for practice outside the schools. Conse-
quently, certification and licensure data must be
interpreted with these developments in mind.
Over the last 10 years, there has been
relatively little change overall in the profes-
sional practice credentials held by school psy-
chologists. While there was a modest decline
in certification by state departments of educa-
tion from 94.6% (Graden & Curtis, 1991) to
91.4% (Curtis et al., 2002), there was a slight
increase in those holding licensure, from 34.4%
(Graden & Curtis, 1991) to 35.5% (Curtis et
al., 2002). State-level changes, such as those
mentioned above, likely account in part for
changes in the type of credential held.
Within the licensure category, there have
been recent changes worth noting. Between
1994–1995 and 1999–2000, there was almost
no change in the percent of school psycholo-
gists holding a non-doctoral license, from
17.4% (Curtis et al., 1999) to 17.7% (Curtis et
al., 2002). On the other hand, those holding a
doctoral-level license increased from 11.3% to
School psychologists work in a variety
of employment settings with public schools
being the dominant location (77.5%; Curtis et
al., 2002). They also work in private schools
(6.8%), universities (6.3%), private practice
(4.3%), hospitals and other medical facilities
(0.9%), and state departments of education
(0.8%); 3.5% report working in settings other
than those listed. Although only 4.3% report
private practice as their primary employment
setting, even fewer (1.5%) report working 32
hours or more each week in private practice
(Curtis et al., 2002).
Age and Experience
There is little doubt about the “graying
of the profession.” Between 1980–1981 and
1999–2000, the mean age of school psycholo-
gists increased from 38.8 years (Smith, 1984)
to 45.2 years (Curtis et al., 2002). Furthermore,
in only 20 years, the percent of school psy-
chologists 40 years of age or younger declined
by 12%, from 43.2% (Graden & Curtis, 1991)
to 31.2% (Curtis et al., 2002), while those over
50 years of age increased from 20.2% to 32.8%.
Almost one out of three school psychologists
is now over the age of 50.
Data pertaining to years of experience
parallel those for age. Whereas the mean for
total experience (i.e., years of experience in
school psychology and education combined)
in 1980–1981 was 10.9 years (Smith, 1984), it
increased to 16.7 years in 1998–1999 (Tho-
mas, 1998). Between 1989–90 and 1999–2000,
the percentage of school psychologists with 20
or more years of total experience more than
doubled, increasing from 10.2% (Graden &
Curtis, 1991) to 20.7% (Curtis et al., 2002).
The demographic data indicate that
school psychology will continue into the fore-
seeable future to be characterized largely by
female, specialist-level practitioners, whose
primary professional practice setting is public
schools. The field will also continue to be lim-
ited in the representation of school psycholo-
gists from different racial and ethnic back-
grounds. The mean age and years of experi-
ence for school psychologists is increasing at
a dramatic rate, suggesting a major increase in
the rate of expected retirements in the next few
years. We explore the projected conditions of
supply and demand below and discuss poten-
tial implications for the field.
Supply and Demand in Personnel
Supply Projections
There has never been a reliable record
of a precise total number of school psycholo-
gists engaged in professional practice in the
School Psychology Review, 2004, Volume 33, No. 1
United States. However, there is general agree-
ment about an approximate number. Some re-
searchers (e.g., Lund, Reschly, & Martin, 1998)
have used surveys of state school psychology
associations to develop estimates of school
psychologists employed in schools. Because
almost 80% of school psychologists report
public schools as their primary employment
setting (Curtis et al., 2002), the Annual Report
to Congress on the Implementation of the In-
dividuals with Disabilities Education Act
(IDEA) submitted by each state department of
education serves as one helpful source of data.
A recent Annual Report (U.S. Department of
Education, 2001) indicated that there were a
total of 26,266 school psychology positions in
the public schools during the 1998–1999
school year. It should be noted, however, that
the intent of the annual report is to estimate
the number of school psychologists working
with students with disabilities. School psy-
chologists working in other capacities and with
titles other than school psychologist (e.g., in-
tervention specialist) might not be included.
In addition to school-based professionals, the
20% who report their primary employment
setting as other than schools must be taken into
account. It has been estimated that there are
25,000 (Fagan & Wise, 2000) to 30,000
(Reschly, 2000) school psychologists em-
ployed in the United States. However, if the
26,266 school psychologists reported in the
IDEA Annual Report cited above represent
only school psychologists working in public
schools, the employment setting reported by
77.5% of all school psychologists in the sample
in 1999-2000 (Curtis et al., 2002), the total
number of school psychologists may actually
be closer to 34,000.
Although it is possible to acquire cre-
dentials for the professional practice of school
psychology through alternative mechanisms
(e.g., direct application to state departments of
education or emergency certification by dis-
trict superintendents), graduation rates from
school psychology training programs represent
the best mechanism for estimating the number
of new school psychologists entering the field
each year. McMasters et al. (1989) reported
that there were 1,940 graduates in 1986–1987
and Thomas (1998) reported that 1,897 gradu-
ated in 1996–1997. In general, it appears that
approximately 1,900 students graduate from
school psychology programs each year. Tho-
mas (1998) estimated that 300 to 320 gradu-
ates receive doctoral degrees, and of those,
about one-half are new to the field (i.e., the
other one-half are already school psychologists
who have returned for doctoral study and there-
fore do not represent new school psychologists
to the field). On average, approximately 1,750
new school psychologists graduate and enter
the field each year.
One potentially important factor that
cannot yet be determined is the number of clini-
cal and counseling psychologists who have
become available because of changes in the
funding mechanisms for health care and who
choose to seek credentialing as school psy-
chologists. Although it is our impression that
increasing numbers of psychologists are pur-
suing this option, to our knowledge no reli-
able estimates have yet been developed of the
actual numbers. It should be noted that state
laws already generally allow school districts
to employ licensed psychologists. Our discus-
sion here is about those who specifically
choose to seek credentialing as school psy-
chologists. Credentialing requirements in those
cases would be established through state laws
and regulations.
Retirement Projections
Thomas (2000) conducted a state-by-
state survey of randomly selected school psy-
chologists at the end of the 1998–1999 school
year using the NASP membership database. He
reported that 3,179 surveys were completed
and returned of the 5,447 that were initially
mailed, a 58.4% response. For those respond-
ing, he reported that about 10% indicated they
planned to retire between 2001 and 2002. He
also reported a median of 12 years until retire-
ment for the group as a whole (i.e., retirement
by 2010–2011). Based on a state-by-state
analysis, he reported that 27 states would ex-
perience a 50% or higher rate of retirement by
school psychologists by 2012.
We used the experience data reported
previously for 1999-2000 (Curtis et al., 2002)
The Changing Face of School Psychology
to develop projections relative to national rates
of retirement for school psychologists at 5-year
intervals. Projected retirement dates were de-
termined by subtracting total experience (i.e.,
combined years of experience in education and
school psychology) from 30 years as the esti-
mated point of retirement. Projected retire-
ments are presented in Table 4 for total field
and by degree. The projections indicate that
almost 4 out of 10 school psychologists might
be expected to retire within the next 7 years
(i.e., by 2010), more than one-half by 2015,
and 2 out of 3 by 2020.
It is enlightening to compare these pro-
jected rates of retirement with projections
based on an assumption of an even distribu-
tion of school psychologists based on years of
experience, which we will refer to as an ex-
pectancy index. For example, the year 2010
represents 10 years of experience from the date
at which the experience data were collected
(i.e., 1999–2000). Consequently, 2010 repre-
sents 10 years, or one-third of our estimate of
30 years of experience for retirement. There-
fore, it is expected that one-third of an equally
distributed workforce of school psychologists
based on years of experience will retire by the
end of that year, which results in an expect-
ancy index of 33.3%. A comparison of pro-
jected rates of retirement for school psycholo-
gists with the expectancy index for specific
points in time is presented for total field and
for each degree level in Table 5.
Our projection of retirement of 37.7%
of all school psychologists by 2010 based on
actual years of experience suggests that 4.4%
more school psychologists will retire by that
time than if they are distributed equally accord-
ing to years of experience. Using the same cal-
culations, at 2015, our projection of 52.9% rep-
resents a 2.9% excess retirement. However, by
2020, we should expect 66.7% of all school
psychologists to retire; this is similar to what
we have projected based on actual years of
experience. In other words, based on our pro-
jections, the greatest discrepancy based solely
on the current increased rate of retirement will
occur between now and 2010. Then, the dis-
crepancy would begin to gradually decline,
again reaching a balance of actual with ex-
pected retirements by 2020.
The projections presented in Table 4 in-
dicate notable differences with regard to de-
gree level. For example, only 25.1% of school
psychologists for whom the specialist degree
is their highest degree earned are projected to
retire by 2010, which is 14% less than those
holding a masters degree only and 21.3% less
than those holding a doctoral degree. While
only one out of four specialist-degree school
psychologists are projected to retire by 2010,
almost one-half of those with doctoral degrees
are projected to leave the field through retire-
ment by this time.
Projected retirements for school psy-
chologists who hold a specialist degree are
Table 4
Cumulative Percentages of Projected Retirements at 30 Years of
Experience for Total Field and by Degree
Retirement Year Total Field Masters Specialist Doctorate
(100%*) (41.0%*) (28.2%*) (30.3%*)
2010 37.7% 39.1% 25.1% 46.4%
2015 52.9% 54.4% 37.4% 62.9%
2020 66.6% 67.2% 52.2% 75.8%
Note. *Represents the percent of school psychologists holding that degree within the total field.
School Psychology Review, 2004, Volume 33, No. 1
markedly lower than would be expected if all
school psychologists were equally distributed
based on years of experience. The discrepancy
is projected to increase over time until those
with a specialist degree are 14.5% below expect-
ancy in 2020. Projected retirements for school
psychologists with a masters degree tend to be
slightly higher than would be expected, but es-
sentially reach a balance with expectancy by
2020. Most notable, however, are the projec-
tion comparisons for school psychologists with
a doctoral degree. For that group, projected
retirements exceed the expectancy rate for ev-
ery time period with the greatest discrepancy
expected within the next 7 years. Unlike school
psychologists with both masters and special-
ist degrees, retirement projections for doctoral-
level school psychologists will continue to sub-
stantially exceed expectancy through at least
2020, and likely beyond that time.
Projected retirement rates are one of sev-
eral factors influencing personnel needs in
school psychology. Below, we consider retire-
ment, attrition from the field, and estimates of
new school psychologists entering the field in
developing projections of consistency between
personnel availability and personnel needs in
the years ahead. We then explore some of the
potential implications of our projections for the
field, as well as possible strategies and direc-
tions for the future.
One of the most difficult areas to address
at the present time is the attrition of school
psychologists from professional practice. Ob-
viously, one issue of primary concern is the
exit of school psychologists from positions of
professional practice in public schools since
schools are the primary employment setting for
most school psychologists. School psycholo-
gists leave school-based practice for a variety
of reasons. In some cases, they accept other
positions (e.g., building principal or assistant
superintendent). In others, they accept employ-
ment opportunities outside the schools, al-
though still in school psychology (e.g., univer-
sities, hospitals, and medical clinics). Others
exit the field altogether. Unfortunately, as noted
by Reschly (2000), systematic data on attri-
tion are not available. He estimated 5% as an
average annual attrition rate, but notes that
there is no empirical basis for using that num-
ber. Nevertheless, absent a more reliable alter-
native, we will use 5% as an estimate of aver-
age annual attrition in our projections. Such
an estimate is modest in comparison to rates
for other areas within education.
Personnel Needs
For our purposes here, we will not at-
tempt to address the demand for school psy-
chologists. Actual demand can vary greatly and
will be influenced by a variety of factors that
are not well understood and/or that are largely
unpredictable (e.g., economic conditions and
federal and state legislation). Therefore, dis-
cussion will focus on replacement needs re-
sulting from projected rates of retirement and
attrition. With all else being equal, however, it
Table 5
Comparison of Projected Retirements for Total Field and Degree
with Indices Based on an Assumed Equal Distribution of Years
of Experience and 30-Year Career
Discrepancy with Index
Retirement Year Index TotalField Masters Specialist Doctorate
2010 33.3% +4.4% +5.8% –8.2% +13.1%
2015 50.0% +2.9% +4.4% –12.6% +12.9%
2020 66.7% –0.1% +0.5% –14.5% +9.1%
The Changing Face of School Psychology
would be expected that the need for school
psychologists would increase or decrease at a
level commensurate with growth or decline in
the U.S. school-age population.
Projections for personnel needs for the
total field are presented in Table 6, based on
an assumption of no growth in demand for
school psychologists. Estimates for additional
school psychology positions beyond what cur-
rently exist should be added to the figures re-
ported in Table 6. New school psychologists
entering the field are reported in the column
for graduates. Projected numbers of school
psychologists exiting the field through retire-
ment were calculated by multiplying an esti-
mate of a total field population of 30,000
school psychologists by retirement rates based
on years of experience reported for 1999–2000
(Curtis et al., 2002), using 30 years of total
experience as the point of retirement. The num-
ber exiting through attrition was calculated by
using an estimated 5% average annual attri-
tion rate multiplied by the estimated field popu-
lation of 30,000. Our findings indicate that
there will be a shortage of almost 9,000 school
psychologists overall between 2000 and 2010.
There will continue to be significant shortages
through 2020, although the rate of the short-
age continues to decline. From a cumulative
perspective, there will be a total shortage of
almost 15,000 school psychologists in the
United States over the next 17 years. Projec-
tions reported in Tables 4 and 5 suggest that a
personnel shortage willbe greatest at the doc-
toral level. Projected personnel needs for doc-
toral-level school psychologists are reported
in Table 7. Based on an estimated doctoral-
level population of 9,090 school psychologists
in 1999–2000, almost 6,000 positions currently
occupied by school psychologists with doctoral
degrees could go unfilled by 2010. Similar to
the total field, the shortages continue to be sig-
nificant through 2020, although the rates gradu-
ally decline. Unfilled positions currently filled
by doctoral-level school psychologists are pro-
jected to constitute 65.4% of the unfilled po-
sitions for the total field by 2010 and 67.1% of
the unfilled positions as a total through 2020.
It is projected that only 914 positions currently
filled by school psychologists with masters
or specialist degrees will go unfilled between
2016 and 2020 across the country, an average
of less than 100 each year. Of course, on the
whole, most school psychology positions do
not require that the individual hold a doctoral
degree. Settings where the doctorate is required
(e.g., university faculty positions), however,
are very likely to be affected severely by the
projected shortage.
The extent of the projected shortage of
school psychologists has implications for the
entire country. However, it is also likely that re-
gions of the United State will be differentially
affected. Lund et al. (1998) reported that the ar-
eas of the country with the greatest consistency
between supply and demand are New England
(CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, and VT) and the Mid-
Atlantic region (NJ, NY, and PA). The areas with
the greatest shortage are the East South Cen-
tral (AL, KY, MS, and TN) and the West South
Central (AR, LA, OK, and TX) regions.
Considerations for the Future
Gender, Race and Ethnicity,
Preparation, Age, and Experience
It is likely that some of the more notable
trends reported above will continue for quite
some time. It is clear that the field will continue
to be characterized by the Caucasian, female,
specialist-level practitioner. Given that enroll-
ment in graduate programs during 1996–1997
was about 80% female and 17% minority stu-
dents (Thomas, 1998), it can be expected that
the current level of feminization will continue
to increase somewhat, as will minority represen-
tation in the field. Historically, changes in the
gender of university faculty have not kept pace
with those for practitioners or graduate students.
In the most recent comprehensive study of train-
ing programs, 54% of the full-time faculty was
reported to be males (Thomas, 1998). Data for
1999-2000, however, indicate that 51% of the
respondents who identified their professional
role as university faculty were female (Curtis
et al., 2002). There is little doubt that, because
78.5% of doctoral school psychology gradu-
ate students are female (Thomas, 1998), uni-
versity faculties ultimately will follow the
feminization of the field.
School Psychology Review, 2004, Volume 33, No. 1
Table 6
Total Field Comparisons of Numbers of School Psychologists Entering and Leaving the Field with Retirement at 30
Years Experience
Total Field (30,000)
Years +Graduates –Retirements –5% Annual Attrition Total Exiting =Difference
2000–2010 17,500 11,310 (37.7%) 15,000 26,310 –8,810
2011–2015 8,750 4,560 (15.2%) 7,500 12,060 –3,310
2016–2020 8,750 4,110 (13.7%) 7,500 11,610 –2,860
To Year +Graduates –Retirements –5% Annual Attrition Total Exiting =Difference
2010 17,500 11,310 (37.7%) 15,000 26,310 –8,810
2015 26,250 15,870 (52.9%) 22,500 38,370 –12,120
2020 35,000 19,980 (66.6%) 30,000 49,980 –14,980
The Changing Face of School Psychology
Table 7
Comparisons of Numbers of Doctoral-Level School Psychologists Entering and Leaving the Field with
Retirement at 30 Years Experience
Doctoral-Level School Psychologists (9,090/30.3% of Total Field)
Years +Graduates
–Retirements –5% Annual Attrition Total Exiting =Difference
2000–2010 3,000 4,218 (46.4%) 4,545 8,763 –5,763
2011–2015 1,500 1,500 (16.5%) 2,273 3,773 –2,273
2016–2020 1,500 1,173 (12.9%) 2,273 3,446 –1,946
To Year +Graduates
–Retirements –5% Annual Attrition Total Exiting =Difference
2010 3,000 4,218 (46.4%) 4,545 8,763 –5,763
2015 4,500 5,718 (62.9%) 6,818 12,536 –8,036
2020 6,000 6,891 (75.8%) 9,164 16,055 –10,055
Although it is estimated that only 50% of the 300 doctoral degree recipients each year are new to the field, the total of 300 per year is included here because of the focus on and
implications for doctoral level school psychologists.
School Psychology Review, 2004, Volume 33, No. 1
School psychologists who identify them-
selves as members of ethnic minority groups
have been underrepresented throughout the
history of the field despite efforts to recruit
more minorities into school psychology. Al-
though representation continues to be limited,
the upward trend in data for the field and the
increased numbers of minority students in
graduate programs suggest that the percentage
of school psychologists representing racial and
ethnic diversity will gradually increase. The
reliability of survey data and organizational
membership lists as accurate descriptors of
representation of diversity within school psy-
chology is unknown. Research is needed to
clarify numerous questions about the recruit-
ment, preparation, entry, retention, and status
of members of minority groups in the field of
school psychology. Nevertheless, efforts must
be intensified to increase the diversity of the
field and to enhance the multicultural compe-
tence of school psychologists in light of the
rapidly increasing diversity of the school-age
population. The graying of the field will be
most significant through the next 8 to 10 years,
but then will begin to moderate as school psy-
chologists of the baby boomer generation re-
tire. School psychologists with doctoral de-
grees tend to be significantly older and have
more years of total experience than school psy-
chologists with masters or specialist degrees.
There has been an overall increase in the
level of preparation for school psychologists
over time, with approximately 87% of all
school psychologists now being prepared at the
specialist level or higher. Although there has
been a gradual increase in the percentage of
doctoral-level school psychologists, that trend
is unlikely to continue. The limited number and
geographical availability of doctoral programs,
the availability of more than twice as many
nondoctoral programs, and enrollment and
graduation data suggest that the field will con-
tinue to be dominated by specialist-level pro-
fessionals into the foreseeable future.
Personnel Shortage
We have included estimates of school
psychologists entering and exiting the field to
develop projections for personnel needs over
the next 17 years. It is important to emphasize
that these projections are based on an assump-
tion of no growth in the field, that is, no in-
creased demand for school psychologists over
time. Projected personnel needs would have
to be adjusted due to increased demand in the
form of new positions or to decreased demand
if positions are eliminated. The timeline for the
projected shortage will be influenced by fac-
tors such as state and school district budgets
or new legislation. For example, the American
Association for Employment in Education
(Associated Press, 2003) recently reported that
the severity of the shortage of classroom teach-
ers across the United States has moderated
because of the nation’s economy and the elimi-
nation of some positions and the decisions of
some teachers to delay their retirement. Nev-
ertheless, the disproportionate numbers of
school psychologists with many years of ex-
perience indicate that the shortage will occur
regardless of the specific timeframe.
The most serious shortage of school psy-
chologists is likely to occur during the next
few years and reach its peak in about 2010.
We project that between 2000 and 2010, school
psychologists will not be available for almost
9,000 existing positions. The shortage is likely
to decline gradually, but to continue through
at least 2020. The projected shortages are likely
to be greater for doctoral-level school psy-
chologists than for non-doctoral school psy-
chologists. Doctoral-level school psychologists
are estimated to constitute two-thirds of the
total shortage for the field, both short-term and
long-term, even though they constitute less
than one-third of the field overall.
Implications of the Shortage
The projected shortage will have a num-
ber of potentially important implications for
the field and professional practice of school
psychology. We will discuss some of the pos-
sible implications for the field and will offer
some thoughts about how the field might re-
spond. Taking advantage of this difficult situ-
ation has the potential to move the field for-
ward in significant ways.
Reconceptualizing school psychol-
ogy. The ratio of students to school psycholo-
The Changing Face of School Psychology
gists influences the types of services delivered
by school psychologists, which is one reason
why a recommended ratio of 1000:1 is included
in NASP policy documents (NASP, 2000a).
Smith (1984) reported that ratios of 1,500 or
less were associated with more intervention
services and fewer assessment services. Other
research has found that higher ratios are asso-
ciated with more initial special education
evaluations, more re-evaluations and greater
percentages of time spent in special education-
related activities overall. Lower ratios are as-
sociated with more students receiving services
through individual counseling and student
groups (Curtis, Hunley, & Grier, 2002) and more
time spent in intervention services and non-spe-
cial-education-related activities (Curtis et al.,
2002). In other words, lower ratios are associ-
ated with services that have long been identi-
fied as more desirable professional practices
for school psychologists and as more likely to
result in positive outcomes for students.
One implication of the projected short-
age is a resultant increase in the ratio of stu-
dents to school psychologists. It is likely that
fewer school psychologists will result in less
opportunity for practitioners to engage in di-
rect and indirect intervention, with more time
being invested in assessment-related activities.
At this point, it is uncertain how the need for
and nature of assessment activities may change
as a result of new legislation and other devel-
opments. Perhaps school psychology can use
the challenges that the shortage will cause to
stimulate consideration of major changes in the
fundamental nature of the field. Despite many
years of advocacy for a greater emphasis on
intervention and prevention services by both
APA Division 16 and NASP, the practice of
school psychology continues to be dominated
by assessment-related activities (Curtis et al.,
2002; Reschly, 2000). During the 2002 Invita-
tional Conference, one group suggested that
the field shift its conceptual foundation to a
public health paradigm, emphasizing health
promotion and prevention.
Recently, Sheridan and Gutkin (2000)
advocated for a paradigm shift in school psy-
chology to an ecological perspective that re-
flects many similar underlying principles. We
fervently support their call for fundamental
change in school psychology. They argue that
to have a meaningful impact on children’s lives,
school psychology must move away from ser-
vice delivery systems based on medical mod-
els and commit itself to models that empha-
size (a) the development of healthy systems
and environments where children spend most
of their time (e.g., families, schools, commu-
nities); and (b) individual, group, and system-
level services that are based in problem-solv-
ing methodologies and emphasize the genuine
involvement of all caregivers who play a mean-
ingful role in children’s lives.
This reconceptualization of the field
would also be responsive to the shortage of
school psychologists in at least two ways. First,
it calls for the investment of school psychol-
ogy as a resource in problem-solving, inter-
vention-focused activities emphasizing evi-
dence-based practices. School psychologists
currently spend more time in a “gatekeeping”
role for special education than in all other pro-
fessional functions combined (Curtis et al.,
2002), an investment of a resource that is
widely seen as inefficient and ineffective
(Reschly, 2000). In a reconceptualized role, as
described here, school psychologists would
emphasize the use of empirically supported
interventions that are directly focused on stu-
dent and client outcomes. The efficient use of
personnel in the delivery of proven services is
critical during a time of shortage. Second, this
reconceptualized role emphasizes the promo-
tion of healthy environments and practices for
children and the prevention of problems
through work with other caregivers. In this
way, the services of fewer school psycholo-
gists will benefit many more children than is
possible through direct services.
Effective home-school-community part-
nerships will be critical in a reconceptualized
field of school psychology (see Christenson,
this issue). In addition, there needs to be a shift
toward using consultation and collaborative
problem-solving skills in working with other
adults (e.g., parents, teachers and other school
personnel, professionals from the community)
who can contribute in a variety of ways in re-
sponding to children’s needs. Moreover, given
School Psychology Review, 2004, Volume 33, No. 1
demographic changes in society and schools,
multicultural competence will be essential (see
Crockett, this issue). The ability to create
healthy environments will depend on exper-
tise in systems change. Yet, understanding sys-
tems and system-level change is one of the
greatest weaknesses of professional school
psychology at the present time (Curtis &
Stollar, 2002). Furthermore, efforts to move the
field in the direction of problem-solving and
data-based decision making have been initi-
ated only recently. Practices of this nature are
not widespread in school psychology. How-
ever, they are fundamental to the future of the
field. As suggested by Sheridan and Gutkin
(2000), such changes go beyond focusing on
the knowledge and skills needed by practicing
school psychologists. They call for fundamen-
tal change in the character of the field.
The role of the facilitator. In the con-
text of a significant shortage of personnel,
school psychologists may need to assume a fa-
cilitator role in identifying resources and in co-
ordinating the utilization of those resources in
responding to the needs at the family, student,
classroom, school, district or community level.
With fewer individual professionals available,
the role will need to emphasize the facilitation
of services that may be present in schools or
need to be accessed from external sources,
rather than the direct delivery of services.
Graduate education. The shortage of
doctoral-level school psychologists merits spe-
cial attention. Settings that require a doctoral
degree are likely to be most affected. Many
graduate programs in school psychology have
already been affected. It has not been uncom-
mon for faculty searches during the last 2 or 3
years to yield fewer than 10 applications. Of
the faculty openings announced on the listserv
of the Council of Directors of School Psychol-
ogy Programs during 2001–2002, more than
30% went unfilled (Curtis, 2002). Vacant po-
sitions in training programs are particularly
serious because they may limit the ability to
prepare new school psychologists, thereby
compounding the personnel shortage problem.
Doctoral programs might consider cre-
ating a new type of faculty position that is dif-
ferent from the traditional faculty role. Some
practicing school psychologists who retire from
professional practice might be interested in a
full- or parttime faculty position with a gradu-
ate training program. Most are not likely to be
interested in developing a research program
and dealing with stresses related to the attain-
ment of tenure. There might be interest, how-
ever, in teaching and supervising practicum
students and interns, essential functions in the
preparation of new school psychologists. Plus,
these individuals would be bringing invaluable
professional experience to the program.
As reported above, nondoctoral programs
graduate approximately 1,600 students each year,
whereas doctoral programs yield only about 300
graduates. Many institutions that offer a doctoral
degree also offer a non-doctoral degree in school
psychology. To address the shortage at the doc-
toral level, some dual-degree institutions should
consider placing greater, if not exclusive, em-
phasis on the enrollment of doctoral students, at
least in the short term. In addition, the prepara-
tion of graduates for university faculty positions
should be given special emphasis within doc-
toral programs.
One additional strategy might be consid-
ered as well. Few options currently are avail-
able for specialist-level school psychologists
to pursue doctoral-level study without mov-
ing and/or giving up their jobs, factors that
often preclude many from engaging in ad-
vanced studies. Such factors may be especially
difficult for women, who now constitute 70%
of the field (Curtis et al., 2002) and tend to be
limited in their options because of family re-
sponsibilities. Opportunities for part-time study
and alternative instructional methods using
technology should be given serious consider-
ation as strategies for increasing doctoral en-
rollments and for making school psychology
more available, in general, to potential new
Focus on retention. Whenever a per-
sonnel shortage is discussed, one of the first
strategies to emerge is how to recruit more stu-
dents into training programs. Although recruit-
ment is one strategy, most training programs
do not have the capacity to significantly in-
crease the number of new students admitted
The Changing Face of School Psychology
each year, especially if programs are being af-
fected by vacant faculty positions. Personnel
losses to the field through attrition seldom are
discussed. The projections included in Tables
6 and 7 suggest that, even at an average an-
nual rate of only 5%, more school psycholo-
gists will leave professional practice through
attrition than through retirement. Research is
needed to determine the actual rate and rea-
sons for attrition. The retention of school psy-
chologists as active members of the field must
become a top priority for professional orga-
nizations at both the state and national levels.
Clinical and counseling psycholo-
gists. A potential resource that must be con-
sidered in discussions of a personnel shortage
in school psychology is the current availabil-
ity of licensed clinical and counseling psy-
chologists because of changes in funding
mechanisms in the health care industry. Many
of these professional psychologists have back-
grounds and/or experiences that could prove
valuable in providing services in schools that
are responsive to the needs of children and
families. The extent to which they will need
additional preparation is likely to vary consid-
erably. Some may have had relevant training
and experience and need only familiarization
with school settings. Others may have worked
with children and adolescents but lack knowl-
edge or experience with the specific types of
services needed in schools. Still others may
have had training and experience with only
adult clients. School psychologists can play an
important role in helping these psychologists
acquire the knowledge, skills, and familiarity
needed to successfully practice in schools.
Likewise, they can help the schools effectively
integrate other psychologists into a compre-
hensive system for the delivery of psychologi-
cal services.
Summary and Conclusions
Current demographic characteristics of
the field are likely to continue for the next 10
to 15 years. The field will continue to be pri-
marily Caucasian, female and specialist level.
Individuals at the higher levels of age and expe-
rience will continue to represent a disproportion-
ate percentage of the field for the next 6 to 8
years, as the baby boomers start to retire. There
will be a serious shortage of school psycholo-
gists that will peak about 2010, but then slowly
decline through approximately 2020.
There is the potential for many negative
implications for the field of school psychol-
ogy as a result of the personnel shortage, in-
cluding a reversal of positive trends in areas
such as a steadily decreasing student to psy-
chologist ratio and increases in some direct and
indirect service functions. It is clear that re-
sponses to address the shortage are needed. The
impending challenges posed by the shortage
also can stimulate major changes in the funda-
mental nature of the field.
Provocative discussions in the literature
and during The Future of School Psychology
2002 Invitational Conference have offered
some exciting ideas regarding new directions
for school psychology. In this article, we have
offered some thoughts regarding potential as-
pects of a reconceptualized profession. As was
suggested during the Olympia Conference
more than 20 years ago, pursuing a desired
future for school psychology can only be ac-
complished through a united field. The time
for change is now.
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Michael J. Curtis, PhD, NCSP, received his doctorate in school psychology from the Uni-
versity of Texas at Austin in 1974 and currently is Professor of School Psychology at the
University of South Florida. His primary research interests include systems change, school
consultation, service delivery systems, and professional issues in school psychology. The
School Psychology Program at the University of South Florida is accredited by the APA.
Betsy C. Grier, PhD, NCSP, received her doctorate from the University of South Florida
and currently serves as Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics with the School of Medi-
cine, University of South Carolina. Her primary research and professional interests in-
clude school inclusion, consultation and problem solving, pediatric services, and family
Sawyer A. Hunley, PhD, NCSP, received her doctorate from the University of Cincinnati
and is currently an Assistant Professor of School Psychology at the University of Dayton.
Her research interests include consultation, systems change, and supervision.
... Psychology students represent only a small subsection of the wider population and a group who have already demonstrated at least some interest in understanding others. In addition, psychology students tend to be a group with limited gender, socioeconomic and ethnic diversity (Curtis et al., 2003). As a profession, psychologists, and those in training, are also more likely to hold compassionate views towards those who are experiencing mental health difficulties (Smith & Cashwell, 2011). ...
Secure forensic hospitals aim to reverse adversity and promote personal safety and mental health well-being for those admitted. These hospitals are also well-placed to make the case for the importance of inclusion and reintegration after a period of enforced community exclusion (through detention under the Mental Health Act). Given the operational and procedural security required for the therapeutic regimes in these settings, only essential visitors are typically given access. This makes it challenging to promote awareness and understanding about patients with forensic and mental health histories. In this study, the impact of a one-day visit to a high-security forensic hospital by psychology students (n = 123), which included face-to-face contact with patients, was studied for its potential to reduce negative attitudes about this population. A comparison group of students who did not attend a visit were also recruited (n = 135). The impact of entering and learning about the hospital, and a conversational exchange with current residents was associated with a significant reduction in negative stereotypes and fear and an increase in compassion and motivation to help. The findings support the use of contact-based educational visits to change negative attitudes and responses towards patients with forensic and mental health histories.
... Како би се повећала доступност и делотворност пружања услуга, Национално друштво школских психолога 4 у САД се залаже за померање фокуса рада са психолошке процене ка интервенцији и евалуацији интервентних и превентивних програма. Уместо нагласка на рад с појединцима, фокус се помера на пружање саветодавних услуга групама и школама (па и широј заједници) и на развој превентивних програма у области менталног здравља (примарна превенција, смањење ризика, ране интервенције, итд.) (Curtis et al., 2004;Ehrgardt-Padgett et al., 2004). Промовише се и пракса заснована на сарадњи и партнерству са другим стручњацима, мрежом школских психолога, као и са породицом и широм заједницом. ...
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This work is the result of a qualitative study that investigated experiences and quality of life of participants from different age groups during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Serbia and the ensuing state of emergency. The research aim was to examine the changes in lifestyle, taking into consideration the life context before the pandemic, emotional reactions, predominant coping strategies and resources for overcoming the crisis, as well as future expectations on a personal and collective level. By relying on semi-structured interviews data from 54 persons (38 women): 15 emerging adults (18 to 26 years old), 23 adults (31–58 years old), and 16 older adults (65–87 years old) were obtained, transcribed and analyzed relying on the principlеs of thematic analysis. The findings indicate that, in the context of jeopardized needs and dissatisfaction with specific circumstances during the crisis, participants’ mental health was primarily preserved through social support and use of adaptive coping strategies oriented towards an active adjustment or psychological reconstruction of the attitudes towards the crisis.
... At a time when the field of school psychology is undergoing a severe shortage due to a "graying of the field" (Castillo et al., 2014;Curtis et al., 2004) with practitioners retiring, the field is pressed to train larger numbers of students. Castillo et al. (2014) used data from the NASP 2009-2010 national study to present personnel shortage projections, projected across 5, 10, and 15 years. ...
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Surveys of trainers in school psychology have been administered to examine training competencies and content delivered to school psychology trainees. Surveys of practitioners working with school psychology trainees are limited as discussed by Lewis et al. (2005). The purpose of this exploratory study is to seek to understand the perceptions of specialist-level site-based supervisors in relation to practicum students’ knowledge in several competency areas. Utilizing the National Association of School Psychologists’ Model for Comprehensive and Integrated School Psychological Services and Standards for Graduate Preparation of School Psychologists as reported by NASP (2020b) and commonly reported school psychology practices as discussed by McNamara et al. (2019), a survey was developed and administered to specialist-level practicum supervisors. Results of Chronbach’s alpha analyses examining internal consistency for each of the seven domains ranged from good to excellent (0.85-0.95) although mean differences in domain ratings were not found to be significant. Results of the study are presented along with study limitations and directions for future research.
... In total, 145 students participated in the study. Similar to the national demographics of individuals in educator and support personnel preparatory training programs (American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE), 2010; Curtis, Grier, & Hunley, 2003), the vast majority of the participants self-identified as Caucasian (86.9%) and were between the ages of 20 and 25 (82.1%). Table 1 provides additional information on the demographic characteristics of the participants in this study. ...
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In an effort to understand the power that exists for those working in schools, the constructs of social privilege and social capital were empirically examined in order to understand their presence in a sample of university students enrolled in pre-service teacher-education or school psychology/counseling programs. This study examines the manifestations of these power constructs, and also examines the relationship between them. The findings, merged with the most advanced scholarship on privilege and social capital, expand the scholarship of attitudes to attend to in preparing future school professionals , related to the development and awareness of cultural competence and diversity sensitivity.
... Despite an increase in political and social policy around ensuring the rights of children are respected, evidence demonstrates that children's consultation rights are not respected equally (Woods, Parkinson, and Lewis, 2010). Specific groups of children, typically those considered the most vulnerable such as those with disabilities, and therefore most likely to access local authority services, are less likely to be consulted about those services (Curtis, Grier, and Hunley, 2004;McLeod, 2007). Where children have communicative or cognitive impairments, consultation is further restricted (Morris, 2003). ...
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In this paper we discuss the need to find suitable methods for eliciting the voices of children with communication, speech and language needs in order to gain insights into their experiences of school, especially in the context of renewed legal requirements to involve children in decisions about their education. A critical review of existing methods for eliciting and facilitating communication from children with communication needs is presented , and an analysis of those approaches is offered. From this analysis we propose a framework for the characteristics needed in any new tool developed for this purpose.
This chapter describes the field of school psychology for behavior analysts who may want to explore training and credentialing as a school psychologist. The discussion of workforce development and job opportunities reveals that job opportunities are plentiful and that demands for school psychologists with behavior-analytic training are increasing. Best practices in the field of school psychology are described according to the competencies established by the National Association of School Psychologists and the American Psychological Association, the two professional associations that govern training and credentialing. These competencies are compared and contrasted with the competencies specified in the BCBA 5th Edition Task List. Readers will discover a number of areas of overlap with their current or desired competencies and several competency areas that fall outside of behavior-analytic training. The chapter describes ethics, regulatory and licensing frameworks for school psychology, and best practices in supervision. Here too, readers will find both overlap and differences between behavior-analytic training and preparation as a school psychologist to work in the schools or in other areas (e.g., private practice as a licensed psychologist). Behavior analysts have great potential for impacting the field of school psychology and schools as credentialed school psychologists. They will need to be discerning, however, about which training program best meets their career goals. Thus, the chapter ends with a discussion of questions behavior analysts should investigate as they pursue future training and practice in the field of school psychology.
The professional role of a school psychologist leader is a topic of interest for those in the field. Since 1940, state or national associations have outlined recommendations and guidelines for school psychology leadership roles. School psychology leadership aligns with the NASP training and practice model and is critical in promoting best practice. However, we know very little about school psychology leadership in professional practice, and the school psychology leadership literature is relatively void of research. The purpose of this study was to investigate the current status of school psychology leadership in professional practice, identify fundamental components (NASP competencies) perceived to fall under the area of leadership, to identify barriers in providing leadership, discover how school psychologists can be empowered, supported, and engaged in organizational change through leadership, and why this is critical to the practice and profession of school psychology. A survey was developed using the NASP Practice Model to guide questions regarding leadership and systems-level services in practice. School psychologist association members from four states and two online professional networks participated in the study. The data were analyzed via descriptive statistics. Specific questions addressed: (a) whether school psychologists in practice hold leadership roles, (b) the type of leadership roles currently held and desired roles, and (c) factors influencing leadership opportunities. The results indicated that the majority of school psychologists viewed themselves as leaders and most would like to hold a leadership role in the future. Organizational principles such as supervision, climate, physical, personnel, and fiscal support, and organization and evaluation of service delivery were not implemented in the school setting as outlined in the NASP Practice Model. Implications of the results for current practice and future research are discussed.
Eleven broad themes emerged from the 2002 multisite conference on the Future of School Psychology. After the conference, strategies developed by the participants were clustered into the following domains: (a) advocacy and public policy; (b) research and knowledge base; (c) collaboration and communication; (d) practice; (e) preservice training; and (f) in-service training. The eight sponsoring associations subsequently formed the School Psychology Leadership Roundtable in an effort to increase collaboration and to advance the agenda of school psychology to meet better the needs of children, families, and schools. Caveats and cautions are offered relative to strategic planning. The article concludes with a question of whether school psychology is at a tipping point.
In a world where the only constant is change, schools are faced with the need to adapt creatively to changing societal demands, parental expectations, and children with increasingly diverse needs. Lasting and effective change can only occur with systemic and organisational change, and this essay argues that school-based psychologists are an invaluable, but potentially overlooked, resource in driving and supporting effective, evidence-supported, organisational change in schools. It is suggested that this can occur best when school-based psychologists are able to move away from direct service models that treat individual children to a systemic model that supports whole-school change.
This article provides an overview of organizational development preceding the founding of the NASP and a personal account of the NASP's subsequent growth, accomplishments, and shortcomings. It is based upon an address given by the author at the NASP 1993 meeting.
Describes the proposed American Psychological Association (APA) Model Act passed by the Council of Representatives in February 1987. Statutory language and commentary are given under each of the following headings: declaration of policy, definitions, state board of examiners of psychologists, requirements for licensure, interstate practice of psychology, temporary authorization to practice, limitation of practice, inactive status, practice without a license, exemptions, grounds for suspension or revocation of licenses, board hearings and investigations, privileged communications, severability, and effective date.
In this article, family-school partnerships are discussed as a viable and essential way to increase the opportunities and supports for all students to enhance their learning progress and meet the recent demands of schooling inherent in accountability systems and most notably of Title I No Child Left Behind legislation. School psychologists are encouraged to make the family-school partnership a priority by collaborating with school personnel to (a) apply principles from systems-ecological theory to children's learning; (b) maintain an opportunity-oriented, persistent focus when working with youth and families living in challenging situations; and (c) attend to the process of partnering with families. Example opportunities for school psychologists to make this partnership a priority for children's academic, social, and emotional learning are delineated.
Evidence concerning school psychology practitioners, graduate students, program graduates, degree levels, roles, and supply-demand relationships was reviewed. Historical trends and current directions were identified with tentative projections to the future School psychology in 2000 can be characterized as practiced primarily by specialist-level professionals, most of whom are female, and devoted largely to traditional roles with alternative roles emerging and gaining prominence. Strong demand exists for school psychologists in the public schools and legal requirements exert enormous influences on demand and priorities for services. Tentative projections of future trends are provided.
A conceptual model (paradigm) for school psychology is presented based upon ecological and contextual considerations that frame the practice, training, and research agendas of the field. We argue that despite previous calls by noteworthy scholars, school psychology has failed to heed efforts to move toward effective prevention and intervention models of service. We provide a synthesis of issues that have prevailed to limit the quality of school psychological services during the past decades (i.e., the anomaly), integrate contemporary theoretical and research advances that address the core problems (i.e., the paradigm), and suggest methods for changing the predominant focus of school psychological services (i.e., changing our own ecology). We suggest that school psychology be guided by an ecological framework of service delivery that addresses needs at multiple ecosystemic levels.
This revised and updated book offers topics and issues relevant to the history, current status, and future of the profession of school psychology. Chapter 1 is organized around 14 basic questions often asked by beginning and prospective school psychologists. The intent is to provide critical information immediately that will be more fully treated throughout the book. Chapter 2 presents an overview of the history of school psychology. It relates the development of psychological services to schools in the context of the development of psychology and education and the changing treatment and status of children in America. Chapter 3 examines the unique opportunities and challenges available to those who choose to practice psychology within the educational context. Chapter 4 examines the various roles and functions of school psychologists, including a discussion of which of the roles are most common and most appropriate. Chapter 5 focuses on the topics of professional evaluation and accountability. Chapter 6 considers such topics as the training of school psychologists, professional standards, issues of accreditation, and the need for continuing professional development. Chapter 7 focuses on the symbols and definitions of the profession. It addresses the notions of regulation and control of the profession of school psychology through accreditation, credentialing, and practice regulations. Chapter 8 presents information about field experiences in school psychology including practicum placements and internship settings, as well as post-internship employment in traditional and non-traditional settings. Chapter 9 provides a discussion of the past, present, and future of school psychology in Canada. Chapter 10 expands the scope of the book to the practice of school psychology around the world. Chapter 11 presents ideas as to what the future of school psychology may be and what it could be. Appended are: School Psychology Data Sheet; Primary Journals and Books on School Psychology; American Psychological Association Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct; and National Association of School Psychologists Principles for Professional Ethics. (Contains an index, 6 tables, 15 figures, and over 570 references.) (JDM)
Administered the National School Psychology Questionnaire, which was developed for the present study, to a nationwide, random sample of 877 school psychologists. The measure was designed to assess demographic characteristics, actual and desired activities, and actual and desired amount of time spent with various student groups. Results indicate that the majority of time was spent in assessment (54%), followed by intervention (23%), consultation (19%), and research (1%). A reduction in assessment and increases in intervention, consultation, and research were desired. Ss devoted 84% of their time to exceptional students, whereas they wanted to spend more time with the general school population and less time with learning disabled and mentally retarded students. A regional analysis indicated a more clinical approach to school psychology in the northeastern US and a more assessment-oriented approach in the Southeast. Ss in schools with a student ratio of less than 1:1,500 devoted more time to intervention and less time to assessment than did Ss in schools where the student-to-psychologist ratio was higher. It is noted that, despite the documented desire by school psychologists to alter their roles and functions, few changes in recent practices have occurred. (11 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Children will face many critical issues in the 21st century. Unfortunately, most of these issues are not new and have remained the same from previous years. Millions of children lack safe, affordable, quality child care and early childhood education while their parents work. Seven and one-half million children are at home alone without supervision, frequently after school when they are at greatest risk for getting into trouble. Close to 12 million children are poor, millions are hungry and/or at risk for hunger, living in the worst housing conditions, or are homeless. Almost 80% of poor children live in working households. Data from the National Center for Children in Poverty (2003) indicate that: A total of 37% of children in the United States (27 million) live in low-income families. Homicide is the second leading cause of death for all 15 to 24-year olds, most killed with guns. In an average classroom of 20 children, there are most likely at least three children who are either victims or bullies. One-half of motor vehicle accidents involving adolescents are associated with alcohol and other drugs. Due to the scope of the issues children face in the 2000s, greater planning, collaboration, and program implementation across disciplines and agencies is required. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)